Thursday, April 30, 2009

OPGMA: Reality Check on "Swine" Flu

With the media frenzy surrounding the increasing spread of the influenza strain, which has been widely referring to as "swine flu," we at Rural Action that that it would be helpful to share some information from our friends at the Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA):

Swine Flu Facts

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Health, and Emergency Operations Center continue to monitor and assess the swine flu situation within the state. At present there is only one confirmed case in Ohio.
  • People cannot get the hybrid influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
  • Swine flu is inappropriately named. The virus is actually a hybrid viruscomposed of human, avian, and swine flu.
  • The hybrid virus is contagious and is spreading by human-to-human transmission.
  • No food safety issues related to the hybrid flu have been identified.
  • Preliminary investigations have determined that none of the people infected with the hybrid flu had contact with hogs.
  • The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.

  • Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu.

  • In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you get sick with influenza, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recommends you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

For public inquires regarding the swine flu, Ohioans are urged to call (1.866.800.1404)

Other Information Resources:

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